Apocrine carcinoma of the breast

Last revised by Yaïr Glick on 25 Nov 2017

Apocrine carcinoma of the breast is a rare variant of breast cancer. The diagnosis is mainly pathological as it is difficult to differentiate from other forms of breast cancer on imaging.

It accounts for about 4% of all cases. It is seen most often in females in the age group of 50-70 years.

Grossly it appears similar to other invasive breast carcinomas.

Microscopic appearance is of sheets, cords and at times tubules of neoplastic cells. The primary features are that of large amounts of eosinophilic, granular cytoplasm, tumor cells with well-defined margins, and large vesicular nuclei. The nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio is about 1:2. They frequently reveal snouts which are accumulations of secreted granules in the apical cytoplasm, that is clearly revealed by staining dyes.

The six-year survival rate for moderate to high-grade apocrine breast cancer is thought to be between 70% and 80%.

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